Thursday, June 21, 2018

Pasta with Carrot sauce & Potato-Basil Rice

I enjoy cooking. A well made dish, is no less than a work of art. I ate pasta with Carrot sauce recently so, I decided to try that.

Ingredients and Process - 

Boil sliced carrots. Fry chopped onion, garlic and tomatoes. Blend them all with few soaked cashew nuts, some basil leaves, pepper powder and salt. Add cream/milk to make a paste. 

Fry Capsicum, Broccoli and any other vegetable that you like.

Add the blend and cook well. 

Add milk to form a nice sauce. 

Add prepped Pasta and mix well. 

On the same day, for dinner, I tried my signature dish- Potato-Basil rice. I love it! the fresh basil from the garden makes this dish delicious. 

Ingredients & Process - Fry sliced potatoes in oil along with some Jeera. 

Add Turmeric powder and Chilly powder. 

Next, add chopped Basil leaves and cook them until they are soft. 

Mix boiled rice and add salt per taste. Simple, isn’t it?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Gingee Fort - Rajagiri

Next morning, I checked out of the hotel at around 8AM. I took an auto rickshaw to the main bus stand at Tiruvannamalai and boarded a Chennai bus. Gingee is a small town, about 39kms from Tiruvannamalai, on the way to Chennai. At Gingee, I took an auto rickshaw ride to the fort entrance, which is about 2 kms away. The drivers charge Rs 50 to take you there. I bought an entry ticket for Rs 15 and began my exploration of this incredible fort.

The fort complex comprises of three hills - Rajagiri, Krishnagiri and Chandrayandurg. I was climbing the Rajagiri hill. There are security guards until midway, so this place is safe to trek alone. At the summit, I met a bunch of youngsters who requested for some water. At first, considering my previous trek experience, earlier this year, I denied having any. Then, I corrected myself and offered them some water. I realised very quickly that I could not let one bad experience turn me bitter. These guys were really in need of water and by refusing to help them, I would have done something inhuman. 

At the summit, I listened to Divenire by Ludovico Einaudi, as recommended by a good friend of mine. It was peaceful up there and a perfect place to listen to some soulful music. 

Back at the base, I explored the fort a bit. Here are some of the images of what remains of this magnificent palace. 

Darbar - 

Prison - 

Kalayan Mahal - 

Thousand Pillared Venkataramana temple - 

I took an auto rickshaw ride back to the town and had lunch before heading back to Tiruvannamalai and then to Bangalore. This two day trip to Tiruvannamalai and Gingee fort was amazing with a good mix of spirituality, nature and history. 

Trek Video - 


On the 12th Of June, at 6AM, I took a KSRTC bus to Tiruvannamalai. As soon as I boarded the bus, there was a fight between a Tamilnadu bus driver and that of ours over who should take which spot at the bus stand. I realised how insignificant these issues are and yet we continue to separate ourselves in the name of languages we speak, cultures we represent and the religions we follow. Is it so difficult for us to see that even with the risk of loosing some diversity, a common approach to life for all humans is the way to establish a peaceful world? Perhaps, we are heading towards that. We will have to! if we want to be in the game!

I reached my destination at 10:30AM. I visited the Annamalaiyar temple first. Being a weekday, it was considerably free and I got a quick Darshan

I took my friend’s suggestion and headed to Ramana maharishi Ashram to stay there instead of booking a hotel in the crowded and noisy city. Ramana maharishi ashram is located 6kms away from the town center. I found a good hotel opposite ashram. After lunch, I went to the ashram and hiked up to Skandashramam - Ramana Maharishi’s house and Virupaksha caves where he is said to have meditated. Since this was a weekday, there were very few people around and except for a few beggars bothering you for money or food,  it was a pleasurable walk.

One could also climb up the mountain - Mount Arunachala but since it was already 3PM, I decided to do that next time. I went half way up the mountain and then returned. 

The evening was well spent at the ashram, along with the devotees, listening to the Bhajans and prayers. I had a delicious meal offered at the Ashram before ending a long but interesting day.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

On A Painting Spree

With a lot of time in hand, I decided to finish my long pending surrealistic painting. 

One night, I had a dream. I was standing in my balcony admiring this beautiful plant, in which grew several vegetables. Beneath the plant, a rock slowly began to transform itself into a sculpture of reclining Buddha. Few months later, in December 2015, when I traveled to Sri Lanka, at Polunnaruwa, I saw a similar sculpture. Inspired by this coincidence, I returned back to start a painting to depict my dream. However, I abandoned it midway. 

Now, two years later, I picked it up again. I am in much more peaceful state now, to paint. Hence Parinirvana was completed.

I planned to dedicate two continuous days, to go on a painting spree and create 3 works. Here they are - 

Imagine - White ink on Paper. 

And two acrylic paintings inspired by the youtube artists I follow.

Fall - Acrylic on Handmade Paper.

Loner - Acrylic on Canvas.

VoilĂ !